As human activity continues to pose a growing concern for the natural world, it’s crucial to address the preventable damage that threatened ecosystems and wildlife. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to outdoor adventures, this article will help you navigate a short list of principles and guidelines that will make a positive difference. Let’s dive in and discover how we can protect our planet together.

What is Leave No Trace and Why Should I Care?

The negative impact that humans inflict on the environment is a growing concern, resulting in preventable damage that has far-reaching consequences. In order to offset the increasing potential of trashed areas, fire scars in campgrounds and human-dependent wildlife, the Leave No Trace organization created 7 key principles for all outdoor adventures and friends of the earth to adhere to.

Understanding this short framework will help you and others enjoy nature in an ethical and conscious way. You may already find yourself checking off a few of these recommendations and might not be aware of others. Not to worry, we’re here to help! Take a read through these 7 principles and keep them in mind the next time you plan for a hiking trip, and don’t forget to share this with your friends!

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Have a good understanding about where it is that you’ll be hiking, and make sure you’ve prepared well. This means making sure you packed enough food and water, dressed appropriately, have tools to help you navigate, and everyone in your group has done the same. Pay attention to the weather and your limits. 

Rescues are not always a guarantee, and the use of those resources means that someone else who wasn’t in an avoidable situation may have to go without. 

Use the HIKEArmenia app to plan your route and contact us directly for help and suggestions.

Camping in designated camping spots is preferred, but they aren’t abundant in Armenia.

Check out (blog for camps) for designated camp sites throughout. Using your preferred GPS apps find any sites (usually with a tent icon) that others have used and marked for future travelers. 

If neither option is possible, find a place where you will have minimum impact on the surroundings. Durable surfaces like sand, gravel, snow, and dry grass are ideal. Most importantly, make sure to camp at least 200 m from any lake or stream. This allows wildlife to access water without the intimidation of a tent and ensures that campers don’t turn a water source into a resort area.

We’ll start with dog waste. Pick up dog waste as you would anywhere else and dispose of it properly when you see a trash bin. Leaving it in nature can allow for the spread of invasive species and pollute the water. 


We’ll start with dog waste. Pick up dog waste as you would anywhere else and dispose of it properly when you see a trash bin. Leaving it in nature can allow for the spread of invasive species and pollute the water. 

For human waste, find a little spot for yourself 200 m away from any water source, camp or trail and dig a small hole (15-20 cm deep). Do what you’ve got to do and be one with nature, but don’t forget to cover the hole with some soil and rocks. 

It’s not all about poo - make sure you wash your dishes with biodegradable soap and again, away from any water source. 

Take out every piece of trash with you. Littering has long-lasting consequences that destroy the nature we love so much.

Armenia is rich with colorful flowers and plants. Take a picture, take hundreds of pictures, but don’t take the flowers and plants themselves. They provide life and shelter for the entire ecosystem, and we want to make sure that they remain healthy and are able to propagate.

You don’t have to walk far to bump into ancient ruins, monuments and cross-stones in Armenia. Don’t move them, carve into them, steal them or use them in a way they weren’t meant to be used. These are symbols of our culture and heritage and should remain protected. 

Lastly, don’t carve anything into trees. We have social media for relationship updates and personal expression. I, too, get lost in thought sitting and staring into the trees, wishing there was a way to mark that moment but please… #donteven.

Before setting off to make a fire, try to use existing alternatives for light like lanterns, headlamps and flashlights.

If that won’t be adequate or even possible, make sure you know the regulations for that area you wish to make a camp fire in. Make sure you have the right skills and resources to build and maintain it safely. 

Gather as much firewood as you can from fallen branches, and purchase firewood when you can. Burn all wood to ash and put out fires with camp water. 

Never leave a fire unattended.

Be aware of fire warnings! Vayots Dzor region in the summer and fall is at very high risk for fires due to the dry nature of the enviornment. To report fires there is a specific emergency line to call: 112 

Notices of fire warnings come through SMS to all phone numbers in Armenia or posted on the Ministry of Emergency Services website.

Did you just spot the bushy tail of a fox or the antlers of a deer? Lucky you! Take in the moment and don’t go chasing after wildlife you may find. Make sure you view wildlife from a safe distance. 

Don’t feed wildlife, as it can be dangerous to both humans and to the animals. Feeding animals in the wild can have lots of harmful effects that include damaging dietary changes and a loss in fear of natural predators. Do your part in keeping the balance in nature.

Keep in mind that hikers coming uphill have the right of way, so be sure to yield to them.

No need to strike up a conversation, but a friendly hello is a nice way to acknowledge a fellow hiker and makes for a safe environment for everyone. 

Bring headphones if you must listen to music. No one wants to hear a loudspeaker blaring your “fire” music from the distance.

Have Fun and Hike Responsibly!

Our daily consumption and lifestyle are already misaligned with our mutual love for nature. We do what we can to minimize our environmental footprint, and going out into nature is no different. We hope you find these principles useful and implement them on your trip into the wild!